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September 2, 2014, 3:07 am

Trauma Center program thrives at Crozer

With a 98 percent survival rate for trauma patients, the Crozer Regional Trauma Center in Chester has been giving patients in Delaware County, Chester County and New Jersey quality treatment for trauma injuries since 1986.

In 1987, the center became a Level II trauma center designation. It is one of 31 Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation-accredited trauma centers statewide and remains the only trauma center in Delaware County.

“Twenty-five years ago, Crozer-Chester Medical Center filled a very important need in Delaware County,” said Riad Cachecho, M.D., medical director of the Trauma Center. “Our program has continued to grow and be successful through the years because of the outstanding efforts of so many talented people.

“We are now seeing more patients brought to us by EMS instead of going to other facilities. Our trauma center has gone from two full time staff members including a director of trauma services and a trauma program coordinator to a dedicated program staff and team that includes dedicated trauma surgeons, trauma nurse practitioners and physician assistants. What we do is truly a team effort.”

The center works collaboratively with EMS professionals, Emergency Department physicians and nursing staff, nursing staff in the operating room, Shock Trauma Unit and the Step Down Unit. Other units include neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, professionals in Crozer’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Radiology, Laboratory, Respiratory Therapy, Social Work and Patient Registration departments. All departments are equipped and trained to administer immediate on-scene critical care when needed.

Trauma patients receive initial treatment at Crozer-Chester Medical Center’s Emergency Department. The facility includes four trauma bays including one dedicated to burn and pediatric patients, featuring the latest technologies and equipment.

Since its inception, the center went from treating 600 patients a year to 2600 patients including 500 burn victims and 2100 trauma admissions. Ninety one percent of trauma patients are treated for blunt trauma (motor vehicle accidents and falls) and 9 percent are treated for penetrating trauma (stabbings and gunshot wounds).

“A traumatic injury is any force upon the body,” said Debra Lillback, M.S.N., trauma program director. “A lot of people tend to think of major trauma, which would be multiple gunshot wounds, vehicle crashes, or burn patients, but in reality we’re seeing an increase in falls — whether down the steps or from a building.

“There is an increase in penetrating trauma in our community, as well as in the Delaware Valley. When we look at our historic data, the count of gunshot wounds or penetrating trauma has doubled since we became a trauma center, but when we look at the percentage of our admission, we have stayed stable throughout the years.”

In addition to the trauma center, Crozer also offers a Trauma Surgical Critical Care Intensivist Service. Established in 2006, this service enhances the continuity and quality of care for patients who need complex surgery and who have advanced cardiac or pulmonary diseases that increase their surgical risks.

“Our commitment to providing trauma care is a continuation of our mission to provide health care services to Delaware County and surrounding areas,” Lillback said. “We are innovative in our clinical practices and are proud of the superior outcomes of our patients who survive otherwise life-ending injuries.”